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Image: 1968 Cadillac Coupe deVille
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1968 Cadillac

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Image: 1968 Cadillac: It speaks eloquently about you, yet barely whispers.Cadillac continued its practice of two year styling cycles, so the 1968 Cadillacs received a modest facelift from 1967. However, even modest changes amounted to many new parts for 1968. Cadillac's grille was redesigned with a finer, horizontal theme with periodic vertical separations. The center section was more distinct with a raised center section that included rounded upper corners on the chrome header bar. Cadillac script appeared in the lower right corner of the center section. The hood for 1968 was 6.5 inches longer than in 1967, due mostly to the new concealed windshield wipers that extended the hood closer to the base of the windshield. A series of three groups of air intake slots were centered near the rear edge of the hood to serve as fresh air intakes for the ventilation/heating/air conditioning system.

The front cornering lamp lenses were changed, now with more detail including a small Cadillac crest at the forward end. Front and rear side marker lights or reflectors were mandatory this year, and Cadillac incorporated the amber side marker light in with the cornering lamp to maintain the clean styling Cadillac's customers expected. Small triangular-shaped red rear markers were added to the vertical bumper ends that capped the rear fenders. For the first time, parking lights remained lit when headlamps were turned on, another safety feature designed so that oncoming traffic would recognize the approaching vehicle was a car, instead of a motorcycle with just one headlamp.

A new larger remote control mirror with shroud was mounted on the driver's door, another change to meet safety regulations, as well as reduce wind buffeting at high speeds. The mirror shroud featured Cadillac script stamped into it. The deck lid was also restyled, and now featured a raised top surface to accommodate more luggage, and the rear bumper now extended further downward, eliminating the body colored splash panel that was under the bumper the previous year. The textured panels that flanked the license plate before were replaced by new thinner horizontal inserts. To complete the exterior styling refinements for 1968, new wheel covers dressed up the exterior and incorporated the Cadillac crest at center, and a series of radial lines in the dished area. The center protruding area was smaller for 1968, and their highly polished finish provided the perfect amount of sparkle for Cadillac's latest styling refinements.

Inside, customers were treated to a noticeably softer ride and more effortless handling. A redesigned instrument panel provided even more padding than before, and while the basic panel appearance and layout is similar, it is indeed a different panel. New fabrics and colors updated the rest of the interior, ensuring Cadillac buyers the luxury of choice as they picked their new car.

Power windows were now standard equipment on every Cadillac, having been added to the Calais series list of standard equipment. The slow-selling Calais Sedan was dropped after 1967, which left just two models—the Calais Coupe and Calais Sedan—in the Calais series. This left 11 body styles in three series for 1968.

Cadillac's biggest news for 1968 was the introduction of a powerful new V-8 engine of 472 cubic inches. Offering 525 foot-pounds of torque, it had the highest torque rating of any production passenger car engine in the world at that time. At 375 horsepower, it had a 10.5-to-1 compression ratio and a bore and stroke of 4.30" x 4.06". This was the most efficient engine Cadillac had ever built, and was designed to handle the requirements of accessories such as air conditioning that were now commonly being ordered. (Cadillac was installing factory air conditioning in 96 percent of its cars at the time).

Emissions control was designed into the new engine, and a new engine metal temperature warning device was installed in the engine's head. This device monitored engine metal temperature, and sounded a buzzer inside the car and lit a red warning light on the instrument panel if the engine overheated. This system served as a back up to the coolant temperature warning, so if a serious problem developed, a Cadillac driver would know quickly to shut the engine down.

Image: 1968 Cadillac Fleetwood BroughamThe new engine was subjected to over two million miles of testing before going into production, and Cadillac's Chief Engineer at the time, Carl A. Rasmussen, commented at the Detroit press preview that the engine's large displacement was required to provide the output necessary to power the many accessories customers were now ordering on their cars. Things like air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, power windows and seats, all added weight and the more powerful engine was needed to provide an acceptable degree of over all operating performance. This engine would serve as the basic Cadillac engine through the 1976 model year, and would be bored out to 500 cubic inches for installation in the 1970 Fleetwood Eldorado, and would be included as the sole engine in all Cadillacs for beginning in 1975.

Cadillac set another new production record for the seventh year in a row for 1968, and for the first time in recent history Cadillacs were built outside of Detroit. The General Motors Assembly Division plant in Linden, New Jersey began building some deVille models for the 1968 model year. The only other time Cadillacs had been built elsewhere was back in the late 1920s and early 1930s, when small numbers of knocked-down Cadillacs and LaSalles were assembled by General Motors of Canada Ltd.


1967 Cadillac | 1968 Cadillac